Big Bazaar pulls another rabbit out of the hat. Today, three bankruptcy applications will be heard in court in Amsterdam. But two creditors who owe the company nearly €1.1 million want a restructuring expert.
It should be seen whether it is possible to reach an agreement with all creditors to get out of financial problems.
The order has halted all 34 bankruptcy filings. Big Bazar has not yet been declared bankrupt and therefore could continue for a while. According to Oscar van Oorschot, Big Bazaar’s lawyer, there are “several major creditors” who support the application.
Injection 4 million
In their request to appoint an expert, the two lenders point to a lender called BBBOR, which wants to invest 4 million euros in Big Bazar.
Of this amount, 2 million euros will be allocated to replenish stocks and another 2 million euros will be allocated to pay rents and salaries. This would “at least” allow that company to move forward for four weeks.
It is not clear who is behind BBBOR bv. The company was not yet registered with the Chamber of Commerce this morning. According to Van Oorschot, this is because the company was founded only yesterday.
The court had previously rejected the request to appoint a restructuring expert twice before. The difference now is that this time, albeit temporarily, there is money to meet current obligations.
Tomorrow there will be a hearing at Leeuwarden Court where the application to appoint a restructuring expert will be discussed.
If the judge approves the request, Big Bazar has several weeks to reach an agreement with creditors. In practical terms, this will still mean that they will not get most of their money back. Although this is probably more than if Big Bazar collapsed.
In the application submitted to the court to appoint a restructuring expert, the creditors point out that in the event of bankruptcy with a “probability approaching certainty,” the creditors will not recover any of their money. This is evidenced by the accounts of the Benedict Office, which provides debt assistance to companies.
There are no buyers yet in Belgian stores
If the judge does not again approve the request to appoint a restructuring expert, the creditors who filed for bankruptcy will have to do so again.
One or more of these bankruptcy filings may then be processed.
Big Bazar has previously offered a buyer for the 11 Belgian stores, which should generate a revenue of €3.5 million. When asked, Van Oorschot said that this sale has not been completed yet. A potential buyer will still look at store numbers to know what to buy.
Bills not paid
Big Bazar has been in trouble for some time. Retail landlords and suppliers have been waiting for their money for months. Many shop owners have not been paid since April and some suppliers have not been paid since the end of last year. Debts have already risen to about 30 million euros.
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